Lorenzo February 6, 2009 7:35 AM

It’s a bit off-topic here, but searching in the blog archive I could find no mention of it. If you look for “nightshade series” in google (I don’t want to post a direct link, as I don’t like those guys much) you’ll find a website where they are selling plastic-made knives. They don’t look extremely sharp, but they can cut and, most important, they look real. Furthermore, as they contain no metal, they won’t be detected at airport security, unless you are so stupid to hide them in your shoes!

jacek February 6, 2009 8:42 AM

Lorenzo: they are all-plastic except for the metal inside them so the metal detector find them – completly useless – but detectable 🙂

Henning Makholm February 6, 2009 10:05 AM

Some things are strange, e.g. on page VII-6, where the entire title and description of item TVC-1121 are redacted, but we do get to see that its original classification is “Unclassified”!

Liam February 6, 2009 11:06 AM

Jeez, this brings back memories. Like replacing the desktop (the whole desktop) STU-II with the STU-III. All the KY/KG equipment. Took a bunch of these at one time. Remember how long it took to get course catalog since we were not part of NSA, but allowed to take courses there.

Count 0 February 6, 2009 11:10 AM

My favorite is definitely:
Yakima, Washington “It’s not a hick town”.
That calls into question the legitimacy of the whole catalog 😉

SumDumGuy February 6, 2009 3:03 PM


Forget plastic knives – look up ceramic. I have two ceramic kitchen knives – one from Kyocera and another from a company called Eagle. The Kyocera is head and shoulders better than any other knife I’ve ever used and contain no metal.

Clive Robinson February 6, 2009 6:29 PM

@ SumDumGuy,

“The Kyocera is head and shoulders better than any other knife I’ve ever used and contain no metal.”

Not surprising Kyocera are the No 1 manufacturer of ceramic in the world.

Knives, hip joints, laser printer drums, resonators and filters for the mobile phone and microwave comms markets, car and truck engine parts bearings etc etc.

If you can think of an application where ceramic would offer advantages then Kyocera probably already make it.

When I have the money (~700$) spare I want to get a full set of their ceramic FK Anthracite knives. They feel quite a bit better than their white zircona knives and should not have the minor problems of the Sabatier Carbon Steel knives I generaly use.

Terry Cloth February 7, 2009 6:09 PM

Re: Ceramic knives (sorry, Bruce 🙂

I met one the first time at a party a couple of weeks ago. It was interesting to see through my loupe that it lost its edge by having minuscule chips taken out, rather than simply dulling as a metal knife does.

That explains why they stay sharp so long: the chips are gone, but the edge remaining is as sharp as it was to start, and that edge is what you slice with. It’ll stay effectively sharp until it’s so chipped that you have too little original edge left. At that point I hypothesize that it’ll seem to go dull all at once. Anyone worn one out?

Rakeem February 10, 2009 10:43 AM

‘Pluribus IMP’? As in ‘Interface Message Processor’?

Four so-called IMPs, built by Honeywell, comprised the first nodes upon which Arpanet was built.

If so, the ‘Pluribus’ moniker (think: plural) suggests another glimpse of the NSA’s famously laid-back, chilled-out and morally unencumbered proficiency with which they approach ‘deep tapping’.

Recent press disclosures point to rooms of functionally similar ‘extra’ gear, secretly installed in AT&T’s main national switching offices to spy on US citizens to protect their way of life. Such stories have obviously captured the public imagination, inspiring a whole new generation of Americans, while winning the hearts and minds of absolutely everyone else.

John Gilmore September 16, 2009 6:15 PM

The original IMPs were Honeywell processors running custom BBN software. The Pluribus IMP was a replacement for the original IMP, using a multiprocessor designed by BBN for higher I/O capacity. Check the Wikipedia page for Pluribus.

NSA had an original ARPAnet IMP, connected via the University of Maryland node in College Park; they were on the Arpanet. I don’t know how they got involved with the Pluribus IMP. In later years, “Dockmaster.NCSC.MIL” was NSA’s public presence on the NSFnet/Internet. It took them many years to get up the courage to have a public web site.

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